New York City Council Set to Vote on School Bus System...
New York City school bus messes left kids stranded for hours at the start of the school year.
The New York City Council is set to vote Wednesday on a set of bills introduced back in October, targeting the school bus system.
"We hear from families every year who are experiencing big challenges with their children's buses," said Randi Levine, Policy Director at Advocates for Children. "Their children's buses are getting them to school late, are causing them to miss class, are not showing up at all in the morning. It's important for parents to have information about what bus routes their children are on, the route that the buses are taking, how long its taking children to get to school, and where their children are."
At the start of the school year, the city hotline was hit with over 100,000 complaints from parents and guardians about problems with the yellow bus system. One 5-year old Queens girl was stuck on a school bus for four hours before being dropped off in the dark at the wrong bus stop. "Parents expect their children to travel safely and arrive to and from school once they are on school buses. The Department of Education’s Office of Pupil Transportation’s failures proved this past year that oversight and accountability is much needed," said Speaker Corey Johnson in a statement.
To solve parents frustrations, the Student Transportation Oversight Package (STOP) legislation will equip every school bus with a GPS tracker and require the department of education to provide parents with information on routes and timetables.
Councilmember Joseph Borelli says the Department of Education will also be required to report on complaints and the outcomes of any investigations. He said that he wants legislators to be able to understand if there are underlying issues with vendors or infrastructure, such as lack of sidewalks, that's affecting who has access to school bus transportation. "So we want to know whether these types of requests are being handled properly by the DOE and whether there are certain bus companies or bus drivers or bus matrons that are more problematic than others," said Borelli.
Speaker Corey Johnson said in a statement that he looks forward to the bills' passage among the full Council.